Dark Hunger

Page 12

And yet, I crossed it effortlessly. My body felt like a wolf’s. Make that a bear. No, just like an animal. Every muscle moved with purpose, my eyes focused in on the two of them. I had no idea what I was going to say, and no idea what I was going to do. All I knew was that I needed her to pay attention to me. I needed to be the only guy in the bar for her; not Liam, not any of the other dudes sitting around, me. Me and only me. And I was going to make that happen.

There was one other moment in my life where I felt this massive internal plume of anger and desperation, and of hope, all mingle inside me at once and push me forward into a trajectory of no return. The last time I did it, it was all aimed at my dad. It was all negative. It was about pulling away, about pulling apart. This time, it was about coming together.

I found myself standing in front of them and Liam looked up, eyebrows raised, face amused. “Hey, Sam.”

I ignored him. Amy took me full on and looked up, face blank, a debater’s stare of challenge. She didn’t shy away, but the look in her eyes was calculating. I could count the words in her head that she was jumbling around, and organizing, and aligning as the most scintillating, sarcastic comment she could come up with was assembling behind those beautiful brown eyes.

This was the closest I’d been to her in four and a half years, other than in my own memory and my own fantasies. She opened her mouth and stood at the same time, our bodies a foot apart. Her face twisted into a smirk and she started to say something, and the next thing I knew...I was kissing her.


Wait...what? Sam’s hands were on my shoulders and he was kissing me. The witty, barbed comment that I’d worked and planned on for four fucking years had been on the tip of my tongue, but now completely dissolved and poured out of my head as his soft lips claimed mine. His hands snaked down my back, and I accepted the apology and the kiss that I’d waited too long for. It was soft at first, and then, he pulled back just enough to come in once more, this time more insistent. From a welcome to an invitation, and then, to a reunion.

The palms of his hands slid over my ribcage, his fingers dug into me, pulling me closer. I shifted my legs and he took that as an opening, body pressed against mine, the hard muscles of a man’s fully formed torso pressing against my softer curves. I got my chance to run my hands up his back like Darla had with Trevor, except, this was exquisite and mine. Mine.

Applause began, along with catcalls and hoots, and then the distinct sound of metal on glass, like people chiming spoons against wine glasses at a wedding, the crowd’s call for more kissing. The same gesture as last week with my fake kiss with Liam, but this time I cheered right back in my heart. Ignoring it was impossible, and yet somehow we both shut it out.

As our bodies communed with each other it was as if the time rolled back and we were starting over from that moment at the tournament where life had turned on a dime. We said four and a half years of conversation in each brush of our lips, every nip, every time his tongue touched my teeth, the heat of him pouring through his mouth into mine. Every stroke of his palm against the small of my back was another month forgiven, every gasp between our mouths like a month redeemed.

“Amy,” he whispered. As his lips explored my mouth and his tongue pierced my soul, everything linear dissolved in my head and I became something new. I was all being, I was all atoms, and skin, and hot, and flesh, and knowing. I was with Sam. Sam, who had abandoned me. Sam, who had not said a word all this time, was now kissing me in the back of a bar and it was perfect. And I was all his. I was all I ever wanted to be.


How did this happen? One minute I was standing in front of her, ready for the tongue lashing that I richly deserved, and the next minute I was pressed up against her, her hot little body morphing into mine. Her hands ran up my back and mine sank into her hair, the lushness of her mouth like finding the God I had doubted, and seeing that an ordained world makes sense again. All the pieces fell into place as I took her mouth with mine, as she parted her lips and let me say how sorry I was.

Her hands on my hips, her body against mine, our torsos pressed against each other—it made me hard instantly, my body on fire in a way that no beat could replicate. There was no music I could play to find this, no macrobeat, no microbeat, nothing that was comparable to the state of being that I had gone to with her in my arms.

The room exploded into a bunch of cheering, lewd comments and shouts about giving her more tongue, getting a room—words, words and more stupid words. None of it mattered.

It was as if they didn’t exist.

Four and a half years disappeared as her fingers trailed along my neck, her soft, pliant lips matched mine in fevered kisses. Blood pounded through me as every sense screamed her name. Amy. Amy. Amy. And then, someone cleared their throat. Amy pulled back and turned, I followed her, letting go of each other and dropping our hands.

Liam. Of course, Liam. “So,” he said, eyes bouncing between the two of us, “I am going to leave you two alone. It seems you have a lot of catching up to do.” He smirked and shot Amy a meaningful look that I didn’t understand. “But we have a set to do.” He thumbed the stage.

Fuck. That’s right. The idea that I would need to spend the next hour and a half apart from her was like a solitary prison sentence. It would feel like years. I turned back to Amy, and my eyes zeroed in on hers, wide and startled and searching my face. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand in a gesture that made me feel like a king.

“French kiss, french kiss!” the crowd chanted, clapping. Then another group across the room shouted, “Blow job, blow job!”

Liam crossed his arms and cocked his pelvis, as if he were the ringleader of the boozy, hyped-up crowd. “I know which one I’d pick,” he muttered.

“Go,” she said to me as we both tried to pretend Liam wasn’t there. “Play. That’s why I came here.”

“To see me play?” I asked. The implied question was one I didn’t have to say.

“You know why I came here, Sam.”

Our eyes were riveted on each other and the blood kept pounding louder, and faster. Amy. Amy. Amy.

“You’ll be here when I’m done?” I asked. It came out like a challenge and not a question, even though deep inside I was practically begging her to say yes.

“It’s only 90 minutes. It’s not like you’re leaving for a tour of duty.”

“Shut up, Liam,” Amy and I said in unison.

He snarled in mock horror and stalked off.

She nodded. I reached out and took her hand. “Thank you.”

She frowned. “For what?”

“I don’t deserve to have you be here when I’m done, so thank you.” That was the best apology I could choke out, although the kiss had felt like I’d apologized every day for a thousand years. And then, like a kind of death, I let go of her and ran back to the stage. Losing contact with her skin was bearable only with the drums to run to, my safe spot, like going home. As I settled into my seat and picked up the sticks, though, I looked through the crowd and saw no one but her. Now I had a new home. And she was sitting, alone, at a table, waiting for me to come.


And then he walked away. Sam. My Sam had just walked up and kissed me as if no break between us had ever happened, and now he was gone again, walking off to start the first set. My breasts felt raw, my skin flayed, my lips swollen and hungry for more of Sam. My entire body was one big, buzzing, aroused being. I wanted him. I wanted him naked. I wanted him bared, and primal, and I wanted him mine in bed for a thousand days. Four and a half years. Four and a half years of nothing and then, he walks up to me in a bar and just gives me a kiss.

Had I imagined it? My mouth burned with all of the feelings that he transmitted in that kiss. My body pumped, and thrummed, and throbbed with the sheer heft and intensity of everything that we had communicated in under a minute. Had he really just marched offstage, found me, and kissed me like that?

I felt like I was in a separate universe of flurry, and feelings, and of everything whirling around me and within me, unnoticed by the people around me in the bar, our kiss already an afterthought, the crowd settling back in to its self-centered glory as they waited for the band to resume its play. Everything around the room was more acute, more alive, almost glowing, like the world had been turned up a notch on a dimmer switch. Didn’t everyone else see how life had changed with that one kiss?

It was like a nuclear bomb had just been dropped and people continued eating their lunch. Liam grabbed his guitar and Sam settled himself behind his drums, his face in shadow so I couldn’t see if he was looking back at me. Trevor and the new bassist assembled themselves and got ready for their opening number while I stood there, mildly stunned. The opening notes of the song “Serendipity,” one of their older, slower rock ballads, carried through the bar as the cocktail waitress asked me if I wanted another drink. I nodded blindly, shaking off my personal alternate dimension and rejoining reality with everyone else.

I chuckled and sat down, dazed and amazed because—really? How Sam. How utterly Sam, the Sam of few words. The Sam of contemplation and the Sam who seemed to struggle with talking about anything outside of his domain. How typical. And yet, what a shock. The music washed over me and I felt myself grin hugely, watching the people in the audience clapping along. I joined in the wild applause at the end of the song, and even considered trying Darla’s two-fingered whistle.

Trevor got up on stage center and announced that he’d written a new song for his girlfriend, Darla. “Yeah,” he said, “I had a bit of an interesting experience back in May.” The guys onstage laughed.

“Tell it, honey!” Darla shouted from the front row.

He smiled at her, the kind of grin that goes all the way through the eyes and into the heart. The kind of smile I wanted Sam to shine on me.

Trevor paused and then reached a hand out. “You come up and tell it.”

Darla took his hand and he lifted her up onto the stage. She seemed comfortable and sassy, and all that anger I had for her melted away. “So I was driving down I-76 in Ohio,” she said. “I’m from Ohio, if you haven’t noticed fact that I have no accent. Unlike you people.” A few titters from the crowd. “So, I’m driving down the highway and I see this naked dude wearing nothing but a guitar.” More titters and a few hoots and cheers.

This was new to me. I hadn’t heard this story. Then again, why would I have? I’d only come back into this circle because I was chasing Sam.

“Yeah! He’s wearing a guitar,” she explained, one hand jaunty on one hip, the other one holding the microphone as she smirked and split her attention between Trevor and the audience, “and only a guitar.” Whistles. “So, I pulled over to give him a ride.”

“You don’t pick up hitchhikers!” someone shouted.

She waved them away. “I know. I know. But sometimes you gotta do things you’re not supposed to. So, I pick him up and he turns out to be Trevor Connor. Trevor fucking Connor,” she said. Now the audience was eating out of her hand, a few of the groupies nodding vigorously. “And he’s high as a kite.” More laughter.

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